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Nissan to harness internal ingenuity with new innovation awards

Nissan has announced the winners of its inaugural Chairman’s Innovation Awards as part of the company’s drive to nurture top talent and innovative ideas from within the business.


Launched internally in May last year, the first Chairman’s Innovation Awards encouraged employees to share their innovative ideas to unlock business growth and product transformation. An additional award was also developed to celebrate existing innovative behaviour within the business.


Over 2,000 entries were received from across nine European regions, with 20 finalists being invited to the Nissan Brand Centre in Barcelona to pitch their ideas to a judging panel consisting of Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox, members of the Nissan Europe board, Frank Campbell, from Energy management experts and Nissan partner EATON, and Carolina Costa, former MD of Orange Labs London – the incubation hub for the telecommunications firm. As well as the judging panel, Nissan employees were also given a say on the winners using a “people’s vote” function via the company’s employee app.


The two winners announced are:

  • Jean-Christophe Sellier from Nissan France for innovative behaviour in leading the Micra Intelligent Get & Go, an online car-sharing program that allows up to five people to own a Micra.
  • John Ferguson Nissan UK (Sunderland plant) for his idea to use cutting-edge digital e-ink and e-paper technology to allow customers limitless choice of colours for their car.

John will also be given dedicated time out of his job, budget and mentoring to bring the idea to life.


Both winners will also be rewarded with a trip to the NASA Space Centre in the US.


Earlier this month, at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nissan reiterated its commitment to growing its collaboration with NASA when Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn announced a new ground-breaking innovation developed from NASA technology for seamless integration of autonomous driving called “Seamless Autonomous Mobility” (SAM).


Commenting on the competition’s success, Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox said: “At Nissan, we’ve always believed winning ideas come from within and with more than 17,000 employees across Europe, there’s so much potential to be unlocked. The caliber of the entries we received surpassed all our expectations. We expect The Chairman’s Innovation Awards to continue to serve as a catalyst to encourage our team members across Europe to celebrate and unlock innovation in all its forms across the business.”


John Ferguson said: “I’m shocked, humbled and honoured to win the Chairman’s Innovation Awards. It’s a fantastic initiative and it’s a dream come true for me to part of it. I can’t wait to start making my idea a reality”.



The 20 finalists of the Nissan Chairman’s Innovation Awards 2017 were:

Peter Jones, Manufacturing, Nissan UK

German Pla Vidal, Manufacturing, Nissan Spain

Jean-Christophe Sellier, Sales and Marketing, Nissan France

Jorn Jergens, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Motor Part Center, Amsterdam

Vito Ruggiero, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Italy

Geoff Hicks, Research and Development, Nissan Technical Center Europe, Cranfield

Pierre Montjean, Administration and Finance, Nissan Europe

Vyacheslav Markushin, Human Resources, Nissan Russia

Elisenda Fornols Rovira, Communications, Nissan Spain

Raphael Meillat, Corporate Strategy and Planning, Nissan Europe

Steven Thompson, Manufacturing, Nissan UK

Tony Saxelby Purchasing, Nissan UK

Frederic Puech, Manufacturing, Nissan Spain

Artem Kuzmin, Sales and Marketing, Nissan East

Gary Yuen, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Europe

Sharon Sulu, Research and Development, Nissan Technical Center Europe, Cranfield

John Ferguson, Administration and Finance, Nissan UK, Sunderland

Yana Tkachenko, Human Resources, Nissan Russia

Angela Huang, Communications, Nissan Europe

Stephan Domburg, Corporate Strategy and Planning, Nissan Europe


The 11 judges of the Nissan Chairman’s Innovation Awards 2017 were:

Paul Willcox, Chairman Nissan Europe

Colin Lawther, SVP Manufacturing, Nissan Europe

Takashi Shirakawa, SVP Research & Development, Nissan Europe

Laurent David, SVP Administration & Finance, Nissan Europe

Guillaume Cartier, SVP Sales & Marketing, Nissan Europe

Anish Baijal, VP Human Resources, Nissan Europe

Guillaume Pelletreau, VP Corporate Strategy & Planning, Nissan Europe

Stuart Jackson, VP Communications & Corporate Responsibility, Nissan Europe

Carolina Costa, former MD of Orange Labs in London

Frank Campbell, President of EATON






Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 17,000 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 660,000 vehicles including award-winning crossovers, commercial vehicles and the Nissan LEAF, the world’s most popular electric vehicle. Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision is designed to guide Nissan’s product and technology pipeline and this 360 degree approach to the future of mobility will anchor critical company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society. Nissan is positioned to become the most desirable Asian brand in Europe.

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Media Contacts

Delphine Dubuis
Corporate & EV Communications